Australia beats New Zealand in first women’s T20I

The world champion notched up a 17-run victory in the first T2O International to be played in Australia in almost seven months.

The Australian team celebrates after the fall of a wicket during New Zealand's chase, in Brisbane. - GETTY IMAGES

Cricket Australia’s world champion women’s team saw off New Zealand on Saturday in the first international cricket game to be played in either country since March. Australia won its first Twenty20 international in almost seven months by 17 runs at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

Ashleigh Gardner anchored Australia’s innings of 138 for 6 with a superb 61 from 41 balls on the two-paced pitch that proved hard to score from before Megan Schutt took 4 for 23 to restrict New Zealand to 121 for 7. The match represented a significant moment for cricket in Australasia in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Both teams have been in isolation for at least the last two weeks in biosecure hubs, with all other international teams likely to follow suit over the southern hemisphere summer.

New Zealand Cricket has said it spoke extensively with CA over its biosecurity measures, with its own plans for its international programme being approved by the New Zealand government on Friday. CA, however, has not confirmed the rest of its fixtures for its international programme, which includes a men’s four-Test series against India. It postponed a one-off Test with Afghanistan and a men’s one-day series with New Zealand on Friday.

The delay in finalising the schedule has provoked a bitter public dispute with Channel Seven.

The broadcaster has threatened to tear up its 2018 contract, complaining that coronavirus restrictions on travel will dilute the competitiveness of games, especially in the Twenty20 Big Bash League. Seven and pay television company Foxtel agreed a six-year broadcasting rights agreement worth AUD 1.2 billion (USD 880 million) with CA in 2018. Seven’s share of the agreement was worth about AUD 450m.

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